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Is Any Candy Safe Candy When it comes to Dental Health?
Whether you and your family are getting through the middle of fall with Halloween around the corner, in the cold of winter with the promise of Valentine’s Day sweets, or approaching the spoils of Christmas, it’s inevitable that there may be candy around the house. Chocolate, sugared cookies, caramels, candy canes, butterscotch candies, and many more varieties may be found in mass quantities at parties, school, and work.
What many dentists worldwide have told their patients time and time again is to try and avoid sweets completely. We know how difficult this is, and it can seem as if you are being tempted at literally every turn. If you already have a sweet tooth, it can be very difficult to resist anything new that comes your way, so today we will try to break it down a bit for you, and show you the good and the bad as far as candy is concerned.
Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies actually stimulate saliva, which can prevent dry mouth in the long run. This can allow for a very quick buildup of plaque on the teeth, which will always lead to an increased risk of harmful cavities. It’s important to always be on the lookout for added chemicals that can make the candy unhealthy, but this category is still a pretty good bet overall.
Sugar-free gum is actually known to have the ability to prevent cavities. While you are enjoying it, the gum can work to help dislodge the particles from between the teeth that can create bacteria, and also increase saliva production. Whenever the mouth has higher amounts of saliva, harmful acids and the potential of tooth decay go down.
“When it comes to sweets, no one can completely abstain. That being said, anything in moderation. If you are going to have candy, enjoy it. Then neutralize it by drinking water or, better yet, by brushing your teeth. Whatever you do, avoid washing it down with ‘liquid candy’. Sugary beverages are actually worse than most candies because they bathe the teeth in sugar and acid at higher concentrations for a much longer period of time on average than candy.”
Candy bars that have nuts can break up the bad qualities that sticky parts of candy, and it breaks up some of the biofilm you want to remove from teeth. Even though many people who love candy may picture these as a hazardous, hard type that can hurt your teeth, eating this type of candy can be a benefit in some cases.
Dark chocolate is known to be the best for your teeth by a very longshot. Some dentists claim that chocolate may be even more effective that fluoride in the battle against tooth decay. A compound has been discovered in chocolate that helps to actually harden the enamel on your teeth, giving them more durability and longevity. There are also amazing compounds in cocoa that have an antibacterial property, that aids in fighting plaque after you enjoy it.
Treats like Tootsie Rolls, Gummy worms, and anything that is known to stick are the ones that are the most notorious for drastically increasing the chance of a cavity. Even though dried fruit is marketed as healthy, it simply is not healthy for your teeth, because of the somewhat lethal-to-your-teeth combination of sugar and other elements. If you can find a way to stick to real fruit, you’ll find it much less concentrated in sugar during the long run.
Lollipops that are not sugar-free can be very harmful to the teeth, and they should be eaten quickly, which is better than lingering and sucking on them for hours. The more frequently you suck on these, the more chance you have of greatly harming your teeth. Brushing and flossing right after lollipops is also a very good move to assure health.
Gummy worms have been known to be very acidic, which is one of the worst things that you can do to your teeth. The enamel on your teeth is the most important thing to insulate it, and when the enamel is lacking, the nerves becomes incredibly sensitive to abrupt changes in the things you eat and drink on a daily basis. By baking your own goods and using xylitol as a healthier sugar alternative, you can assure yourself the freedom to eat the candy you enjoy, but not have it be as hazardous.
Some think that candy is always a bad thing when it comes to dentistry, and the reason why this notion was followed so heavily is because many that eat too much candy do it every day. Attitudes towards sugar have been drastically changing lately, as many have finally learned once and for all the damage it can do. Gravitating towards the dark chocolate can be a temporary solution and lifesaver, as many who crave candy are fighting the battle to not constantly be eating candy all day, whether it is out on their desk, or on the kitchen table at home.
Medically Fact-Checked & Written by Our Dental Editorial Team
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